I've got a confession: I don't really like Christmas. Sorry. Its the consumer crazy advertiser's version of it that I can't stand - perfect images of happy families and snow in England and shopping frenzies for more tat that most people don't need, and carols which start on 1 December, and decorations which go up in October. BUY PEOPLE, BUY!!! Like I said, BAH HUMBUG. I am after a simpler expression of whatever it is that Christmas is supposed to be - perhaps its just sharing a feast with your nearest and dearest, even the ones you don't like much. Perhaps its about taking a moment to give thanks that you and everyone you love are still around, even if its just you and the cat. Each year I try and ignore it, until I can't any more. We go to great lengths to "do it our way". Jules and I have only ever brought one tree during our nearly 20 years together. We cracked four year's ago and brought a minuscule live (i.e. including roots) fir tree on Christmas Eve for a bargain. Each year since we planted it out in the garden and then brought it back indoors for Christmas. Not surprisingly, it never really grew with its constant moving around, and each year I had to borrow branches from other fir trees to create a fir tree "hair piece" to stop it looking so sad. Last year we took pity on it and set it free so it can grow undisturbed. This gave us a dilemma for this year, because I couldn't bring myself to "kill a tree" for our entertainment. Anyway, I eventually spied a large silver birch branch on a tree in my garden. This branch was brought inside - reaching all the way up to the ceiling - and covered in white lights and homemade porcelain stars. It was so pretty that I even thought about keeping it up all year.... from one extreme to the other. The cats even loved it.... they would sit underneath and gaze upwards at its twinkling beauty. When it came down, Rollo noticed immediately and wandered over and sat in the space..... no doubt pondering how we had accidentally managed to capture some of the twinkly Christmas spirit after all.